Note-Taking Mode and Academic Performance in Two Law School Courses

69 J. Legal Educ. 207-229 (2019)

Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 194

23 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2018 Last revised: 27 Dec 2019

See all articles by Colleen P. Murphy

Colleen P. Murphy

Roger Williams University School of Law

CJ Ryan

Roger Williams University School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Yajni Warnapala

Roger Williams University - Department of Mathematics

Date Written: March 4, 2018

Abstract

Student use of computers in law school classrooms has become commonplace, especially in the last decade. Yet, studies in other higher education settings have found an association between note-taking mode and academic performance; specifically, using a computer to take notes is associated with negative academic performance outcomes.

This study endeavors to assess the relationship between note-taking mode and academic performance in the law school setting. We compare the academic performance of handwriters to laptop users in two required, doctrinal courses as well as the effect of exposing roughly half the students in our analysis to a memorandum explaining the possible pitfalls of using a laptop to take class notes. We find that handwriting class notes has a positive and statistically significant impact on academic performance in these two law school courses, supporting findings of the benefits of handwriting class notes in other higher education settings.

Keywords: Legal Education, Note-taking, Academic Performance, Laptop Use, Handwriting

JEL Classification: C01, C02, I21, I23

Suggested Citation

Murphy, Colleen P. and Ryan, Christopher and Warnapala, Yajni, Note-Taking Mode and Academic Performance in Two Law School Courses (March 4, 2018). 69 J. Legal Educ. 207-229 (2019); Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 194. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3134218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3134218

Colleen P. Murphy (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States
401-254-4631 (Phone)

Christopher Ryan

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Yajni Warnapala

Roger Williams University - Department of Mathematics ( email )

One Old Ferry Road
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

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